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Celebrating one year on the arts scene, DanceAspen looks ahead

DanceAspen celebrates their one-year anniversary with 'New Horizons' performances.

Katherine Roberts
Special to The Aspen Times
Sammy Altenau and Matthew Gilmore of DanceAspen preview their "New Horizons" show on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022, atop the Aspen Art Museum. (Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times)
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

DanceAspen celebrates its one-year anniversary with a selection of three performances, collectively named “New Horizons.”

“I called this ‘New Horizons’ because we’re really looking forward,” said DanceAspen executive director Laurel Winton. “It’s an articulation of the development of this organization as a whole. We’ve only been around for a year, but it’s been like speed development. We’ve gotten quite far, and we keep looking ahead.”

With new works by Danielle Rowe, Matthew Gilmore, and Kaya Wolsey, “DanceAspen invites you on a journey through the next generation of contemporary dance,” according to DanceAspen’s recent press release.



As far as what puts the “new” in “New Horizons,” the company has expanded its roster of artists, adding three dancers for this program, as well as enlisting Sofane Sylve, the director of the School of Ballet San Antonio, to participate.

“We’re a very collaborative group since we depend so much on one another to produce these shows. These are relationships that we artists have cultivated throughout our careers,” Winton said. “Also, (Rowe) is one of the giants of our time in terms of choreography.”




Rowe brings her reputation to Aspen, as well as a work that has never been performed outside of San Francisco — its city of inception.

Gilmore echoes the team spirit of the production, speaking as both a choreographer and a dancer in “New Horizons.”

“For me, choreographing is a very collaborative process with the dancers,” he said. “You are not only generating movement, but also creating a landscape for the stage. It is so much fun to experiment with ideas that have been brewing in my head. As a dancer, you constantly have to remember the steps, but also know what the steps mean. We are performers. Like an actor getting a script, we must stay true to the words, but also try to add our own personal touches to the scene. We are not robots; we are expressive human artists, and that’s what I find so exciting about dance.”

These exciting, personal touches are part of a greater effort by the company to blend collaboration and groundbreaking experiences with more classical performance.

“Each time we have a show, it’s a little more cohesive. We have more dancers, and we’re adding dancers on pointe. It’s melding the classical ballet with the contemporary vibe that we’ve had all along. That’s going to come out in this production more than ever,” Winton said.

Because the company does have more dancers than ever before, they are able to give audiences some experiences that they may have seen in the past, but with a twist, Winton added. For example, a performance that debuted last spring with an all-female cast will now be performed with an all-male ensemble for “New Horizons.” It’s a “more masculine approach,” she said.

As for what’s next, there seems to be a lot brewing on the horizon for DanceAspen.

“I’m very excited as DanceAspen heads into year two. We have already accomplished more than I ever expected in a year, so I truly believe that the sky is the limit,” Gilmore said. “I’m so proud of everyone involved because it is not an easy feat. I am also thankful to the community for their support and for accepting us with open arms. There truly is no place like Aspen.”

“We had an incredible first year; now what can we do to make the future even brighter?” Winton said. “I feel very grateful to the community for making this happen for us. We’re all workhorses, and we’re all 100% devoted to building this art form, and we wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the community that built us up. It makes me love Aspen more than ever.”

If you go…

What: DanceAspen’s ‘New Horizons’

When: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 23-24

Where: Wheeler Opera House

Tickets: $35-$65

More info: danceaspen.org


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